WRITING TIP: Go to the heights — but don’t stay there

The heady feeling of imagined creation, of exhalted or timeless states, are necessary to those who want to pierce the veil between ordinary life and the mysterious regions of the soul. There, images, sensings, and a storyless trembling dominate. It can be tempting to stay in the inarticulate, unedited heights and depths, but if we do, the whole thing will drain of meaning. Like the bodhisattva, the artist, the mystic and the saint, the writer must return and do the work of translation so that what has occured can benefit others. As poet and musician Patti Smith put it, “It’s the artist’s responsibility to balance mystical communication and the labor of creation.”